International election observers have called on politicians defeated in Kenya’s fiercely contested polls to concede gracefully without taking their struggle to the streets. The statements by delegations from the EU, the African Union and the US came as opposition groups accused electoral officials of hiding the true results of Tuesday’s elections, which they said showed their leader, Raila Odinga, had won by 300,000 votes. Provisional results released by Kenya’s election commission have put the incumbent president, Uhuru Kenyatta, ahead by 54.2% of votes counted, to 44% for Odinga. A final verified declaration of results based on returns signed by agents from all parties at polling stations and constituencies is expected on Friday.
The observers commended officials for the relatively smooth running of the polls, and complimented Kenyans for their “commitment and determination”. Many of the 19 million eligible voters waited for many hours to cast their ballots.
“The electoral process is still ongoing. It is a sign of leadership to be able to congratulate your opponent with grace. It is the responsibility of all Kenyans to remain calm and show restraint,” said the head of the EU delegation, Marietje Schaake. She said her team had seen no signs of “centralised or localised manipulation” of the voting process.
The former US secretary of state John Kerry said the candidates and their parties should work within the law to resolve any disputes.